Post #6. Design a Garden - with KIDS!
My First Class with Grade 3 Students...
Come along with me on my journey to write a book (working title: "Growing Gardeners") that will inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens and outdoor spaces.
There are many resources out there about designing a child-friendly garden, gardens for children and experiential gardens for young students. This is NOT that.
This blog tracks my journey of finding ways to inspire and encourage children to design their own gardens (real or imagined) while also learning about Landscape Design and Landscape Architecture.
My First Class with Grade 3 Students...
GRADE 3'S: Friday, March 10, 2023
Gah! How exciting! Today I had the opportunity to teach two, grade 3 classes at Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School here in London, Ontario. I had initially reached out over Facebook to my network asking for connections to public school teachers. My friend, Ceris Thomas connected me with the Teacher-Librarian at Jeanne Sauvé - Dawn-Marie Deagle. I am SO VERY GRATEFUL for this connection! Dawn-Marie has me scheduled to come into her library to teach each grade at her school between one and eight. THANK-YOU! Today is only Day#3.
After looking through the Grade 1-3 curriculum, I realized that there are SO MANY opportunities to connect it to Garden Design concepts and that there was NO WAY I could incorporate everything I wanted to into a single 100-minute class.
I decided to focus on a few items in the curriculum that I could expand upon in each class between grades one and three to start:
Colour Theory (schemes & the colour wheel)
Simple Geometry (circles and squares)
Using Geometry to compose numbers and shapes
Sorting Data by Attributes (one, two or three depending on grade)
Collecting Data (through experimentation, observation & interview)
Frequency Tables (taught with me or later with their teacher)
Creating and Interpreting Maps
Measure & Draw Lengths & Perimeter
Communication (spoken & written)
Developing Self-Awareness and Identity (through freedom to choose what appeals to them)
Thinking Critically and Creatively
After teaching the grade 1's and 2's, I wanted to try and keep today's classes as similar as possible so I could better see the differences.
THIS WAS THE PLAN:
Short Presentation about myself and what I do as a Landscape Designer
ASK children two questions (to compare across grades):
"What IS a Garden?" and
"What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?"
Introduce Colour Wheel & Colour Schemes depending on grade :
Monochromatic - Grade 1 (one attribute)
Complimentary - Grade 2 (two attributes)
Triadic - Grade 3 (three attributes)
Have students each pick three colours on the colour wheel that are equidistant to each other on the colour wheel they want and they each take the corresponding colour swatches (Green, Orange & Purple OR Blue, Red & Yellow).
Have students each pick a SQUARE or CIRCLE shape for their garden
Trace out desired shape for each child (with help of Dawn-Marie and the Teacher)
Have students cut-out a "window" in the front page without cutting to the edge of the page (Scissor Skills)
Have students trace inside of window to copy shape to inside of the booklet
Students then cut-out plant photos from the provided seed catalog (Thanks OSC SEEDS!!!) that belong to the colours they selected and glue them inside the shape or "Garden Plot"
Students had freedom to glue in any desired pattern within their shape
Students got to take home the garden they made and the seed catalog they cut from
Photos of completed projects from the class with Grade 3's
*posted with permission*:
THE RESULT (WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED):
The Short Presentation was delivered via Google Slides and a Smart Board. We couldn't draw right on the board while a presentation was playing so we used a large sheet of paper instead
When the Grade 3's were asked "What IS a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold:
Place to plantx2 flowersx4, foodx4, treesx2, plantsx5, grass and vegetablesx2
Animals go/live therex5
has fruits to make food
a place where birds live in nests in trees
placex9 that helps you breathex3 (gives oxygen/fresh air)
a place that smells good
it's a beautifulx3 place
bunch of colours therex4
lots of things to eat there (food)
used for decoration
a place that feeds the animals that feed us
a sanctuary for plants
a place full of living things
lots of green plants
a place to play games
bees like to live therex2 and pollinate things
butterflies get their food there
bees can make their nests there
When the Grade 3's were asked "What will you FIND/SEE in a Garden?", these were their responses. Words/Phrases/Concepts that were mentioned more than once are noted in Bold (Prompts: Bugs, Animals, Plants & People):
Chicken & Chicks
Venus Fly Trap
People looking at flowersx3
People smelling flowers
People growing plants
gardenersx2 caring for plantsx6
people watering plantsx3
people picking plants
kids playingx5 on the grassx2
people taking pictures of plants
people feeding plants
babies crawling in grass
people checking on plants
artistsx2 painting flowers
playing eye spy
playing games on climbers
SHAPE & COLOUR RESULTS:
# STUDENTS: 15(group1) + 15(group 2) = 30
SQUARE SHAPE SELECTED: 12 = 40%
CIRCLE SHAPE SELECTED: 18 = 60%
BLUE/YELLOW/RED SELECTED: 22 = 73%
PURPLE/ORANGE/GREEN SELECTED: 8 = 27%
Today's class taught me some lessons and leaves me with some more questions:
The majority of the students today had not cut-out a "window" before. They were proud they learned something new and did it successfully.
I witnessed lots of sharing of plant photos between students (AWE!)
Students would tell other students to look at certain photos on a specific page number
Students were very excited to share stories about their experiences in gardens. I wish I planned for more sharing time.
Witnessed a number of students organizing their photos in a radial pattern
A higher percentage of students went with the primary colours vs. the secondary primaries
Much more variety in the plants the children could name compared to grade 1&2
Below are RESOURCES that I come across - as I come across them
(see previous blog posts for other resources):
Are you teaching garden design to your students?
Are you a parent teaching the concepts to your child(ren)?
Do you WANT to?
I want to hear from YOU! Get in touch!
I'd love to hear your stories, struggles, lessons and explorations in this area.
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